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How to become a pilot in India – Steps, Licensing and Cost

There are two ways in which a candidate can apply to become a pilot in India. The first is Civil aviation and the second is through Indian Defence Forces.

As a kid, we have always looked up in the sky every time we saw a plane and waved at it, wishing the pilot will notice us and wave back. But as a kid, we also wanted to fly that plane one day or sit in one, and for lucky few, that dream comes true. Touching the sky, looking at the horizon as you fly through the clouds, it’s a sight that we, as a passenger, witness occasionally.

However, pilots get to witness this every day during their flights as they change cities or even countries during international flights. And if you think that you’ve lost your chance at trying to become a pilot, then these are ways how you can fulfill your dream of becoming a pilot.

How to become a Pilot in India

To become a pilot, there are two ways in which a candidate can apply. These are:

  1. Civil Aviation: Non-Military Aviation/ Commercial Pilot
  2. Indian Defence Forces (Air Force)

Let’s try to understand how a person can apply through these.

Civil Aviation/ Commercial Pilot

Commercial Pilots are the pilots that fly for a specific aircraft for an airline or an organization and hold a commercial pilot certificate issued by the authority. In India, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is the authority that gives the certificate. Becoming a commercial pilot is no piece of cake as you will be taking care of hundreds of lives in a single aircraft.

How to become a commercial pilot in India

To pursue aviation as a career, the basic requirements by the field is that a candidate should have a science stream in their high school education, i.e., Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics as compulsory subjects in the 11th and 12th standard.

In case you didn’t have Physics or Mathematics as a subject in your stream, then you can apply to the National Institute of Open Schooling and study these subjects from there. Once you know all these subjects, only then you can apply for the pilot training course, which is conducted by various flying clubs that are present in the country.

The admission in these pilot training courses takes place by giving a set of the entrance procedure, which includes a written test and a medical examination, and an interview follows that. A minimum of 50% aggregate is required in Class 12th to be eligible to join the course. There are also age restrictions for applying for a pilot’s license.

  • Student Pilot License in 16 years
  • Private Pilot License in 17 years
  • Commercial Pilot License in 18 years

Follow these steps to become a commercial pilot in India

Step 1. Apply for a flying school to pursue the aviation course

Step 2. After clearing all the rounds in the course, apply for a student pilot license

These are the best institutes for pursuing aviation course in India:

  1. Rajiv Gandhi Academy of Aviation Technology, Kerala
  2. Bombay Flying Club, Mumbai
  3. Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Academy (IGRUA), Rae Bareilly
  4. Indigo Cadet Training Program, Hyderabad
  5. Madhya Pradesh Flying Club (MPFC), Indore

How much does it cost to become a pilot in India?

We all are aware of the salaries of the commercial pilots, which ranges from Rs. 80,000 – Rs. 150,000 per month to more than Rs. 400,000 per month. With a promising salary, the course itself is not cheap as the average price for a commercial pilot course is quite high in India, as the fees can reach the mark of Rs.15 to Rs.20 lakhs.

Indian Defense Force (Air Force)

If you are motivated to become a pilot, and you wish to serve your nation with the same dedication, then joining the Indian Defense Forces is the best option for you. This is also a better alternative as compared to becoming a commercial pilot since you don’t have to spend a fortune on the training, and you get to serve your country.

The Indian Air Force training begins, and the pay period begins along with it. With 15 characteristic traits, the candidate must tick all the checkboxes to get selected as an airforce officer.

How to become a pilot after 12th class

NDA Admission Procedure

The National Defence Academy (NDA) is the second opportunity that would allow a candidate to enter the journey they’ll cover to the path of becoming a pilot. A candidate will have to give the written exam and clear the SSB interview to be a part of the flying branch of NDA.

Several tests like Pilot Aptitude Test and Medical Examination are carried out, after which the candidate will be eligible to be a part of the forces.

How to become a pilot after graduation?

There are several ways in which a student can apply for the pilot course after graduation. Students can apply through these exams to be a part of the Indian Air Force:

  1. Combined Defence Services Examination (CDSE)
  2. AFCAT Short Service Commission (SSC)
  3. NCC

CDSE Eligibility

Male graduates from a recognized university with Physics and Mathematics in 12th standard or BE/B.Tech course. Candidate must have an Indian Passport to apply for CDSE. The age limit is 19 years to 23 years.

AFCAT SSC Eligibility

Graduate in any field from a recognized university with Mathematics and Physics in 12th standard or BE/B.Tech course with 60% aggregate marks. SSC allows both male and female candidates to apply for the course. The age limit is 19 years to 23 years.

In case you hold a Commercial Pilot Licence issued by DGCA, then the age can go till 25 years.

NCC Eligibility

Through NCC, a student should have an NCC Air Wing Senior Division ‘C’ certificate to be eligible for the course. Graduate in any course from a recognized university with Physics and Mathematics in 12th standard or BE/B.Tech course with a minimum of 60% marks. The age limit is 19 years to 23 years.

The personal skills of a person should be intelligence, good decision-making skills, control on themselves under pressurizing situations, and perseverance.